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Thinking of relocating to LA

Thinking of relocating to LA

Old Jan 23rd 2011, 11:13 am
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Default Thinking of relocating to LA

My family and I have just come back from a weeks tour of Los Angeles, specifically Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks. We love the area, climate etc, especially as it's a little out of the city itself.

We are considering relocating in the summer on an L1 visa as I will be going over as President of the US division of the company I work for (multinational with approx €200M in revenues, $25M of this in the US) . I currently run the European division of the same company so the visa qualifications look to be relatively straight forward (comparatively!).

We've zeroed in on Calabasas due to the schools (children are 13 and 9) and will be renting a property for the first 12 months.

I have a few questions that hopefully the people of this board can help me with;

1. I don't have a university degree, will this count against my application?
2. What time scale am I looking at for the application process and when should this be started, considering a July 1st target for the move?
3. Would you recommend the services of a specialist immigration service / lawyer or should our internal HR lawyer be sufficient?
4. What are the top 5 tips for you would give a new arrival in the US and what should be the top priorities that we need to look at?

I'm slowly wading through the wealth of information on here (most of it excellent!) so I'm sure I'll eventually find the information at some point

Ian
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Originally Posted by IanH88 View Post
1. I don't have a university degree, will this count against my application?
Not for an L-1, I don't think so, no.


2. What time scale am I looking at for the application process and when should this be started, considering a July 1st target for the move?
Umm... start now.


3. Would you recommend the services of a specialist immigration service / lawyer or should our internal HR lawyer be sufficient?
You will want an experienced immigration lawyer (not service) to help. Preparation of the application and how it's presented is important. Make sure you negotiate healthcare and repatriation expenses with your company. If you want to remain in the US, be sure to negotiate a specific time frame within which they will sponsor you for green cards.


4. What are the top 5 tips for you would give a new arrival in the US and what should be the top priorities that we need to look at?
1) Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the differences between the UK and the US.
2) Rent first... then buy. Those differences may be too much!

Beyond that... it's much the same!

Ian
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Thanks for the reply

I'm doing some budgeting, how do the cost of utilities compare to the UK and can anyone point me in the direction of any cost of living comparison websites?

Thanks

Ian
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

We live in Calabasas, I can try to answer specific questions about the area if that helps.

We also moved for the school district but I must warn you LVUSD is facing a severe budget crisis.
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Thanks Sally

We looked at AC Stelle and both Bay Laurel and Chapparal. Two of the three mentioned the budget cuts and the need for more fund raising etc. Is LVUSD in a worse situation than neighbouring districts??
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Originally Posted by IanH88 View Post
Thanks Sally

We looked at AC Stelle and both Bay Laurel and Chapparal. Two of the three mentioned the budget cuts and the need for more fund raising etc. Is LVUSD in a worse situation than neighbouring districts??
LAUSD is under the cosh for sure - I'm not sure if the Thousand Oaks schools are in any better shape. I doubt it, as the State of California itself is broke.
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

[I have a few questions that hopefully the people of this board can help me with;

1. I don't have a university degree, will this count against my application?

- I came over on an L-1 visa and I do not have a university degree. I did however have 10 years experience with my company and a Managerial role

2. What time scale am I looking at for the application process and when should this be started, considering a July 1st target for the move?

- My application for the Visa was submitted in September and the Visa came through in late December

3. Would you recommend the services of a specialist immigration service / lawyer or should our internal HR lawyer be sufficient?

- Our interal HR person handled it all via their already retained immigration lawyer. My company had a lot of experience in transferring people from the UK to the US

4. What are the top 5 tips for you would give a new arrival in the US and what should be the top priorities that we need to look at?

- Keep and open mind and expect some hassles setting up a new life.
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Originally Posted by IanH88 View Post
My family and I have just come back from a weeks tour of Los Angeles, specifically Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks. We love the area, climate etc, especially as it's a little out of the city itself.

We are considering relocating in the summer on an L1 visa as I will be going over as President of the US division of the company I work for (multinational with approx €200M in revenues, $25M of this in the US) . I currently run the European division of the same company so the visa qualifications look to be relatively straight forward (comparatively!).

We've zeroed in on Calabasas due to the schools (children are 13 and 9) and will be renting a property for the first 12 months.

I have a few questions that hopefully the people of this board can help me with;

1. I don't have a university degree, will this count against my application?
2. What time scale am I looking at for the application process and when should this be started, considering a July 1st target for the move?
3. Would you recommend the services of a specialist immigration service / lawyer or should our internal HR lawyer be sufficient?
4. What are the top 5 tips for you would give a new arrival in the US and what should be the top priorities that we need to look at?

I'm slowly wading through the wealth of information on here (most of it excellent!) so I'm sure I'll eventually find the information at some point

Ian
We came over on my husbands L1 visa, he hasn't got a degree either, experience was the key for his.

We rented in Woodland Hills, next to Calabasas. I would recommend when you are looking at houses to rent to have your UK credit reports, 6 months UK bank statements, an offer letter from your company showing your salary, and be open and honest saying you don't have a US credit history as you have just arrived. We did this and didn't have any problems renting our house, however lots of people do.
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 7:58 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Thanks for the replies, very helpful and much appreciated.

The degree thing was playing on my mind, but I've got 5 years of directly relevant experience in a similar role with my company and will also have several highly paid people (all Americans) reporting to me. I will also be recruiting several more staff in the immediate months after my arrival.

The advice about my credit history is useful, thankfully its in good order!!

Definitely keeping an open mind and have been warned about the levels of bureaucracy that I will face for the first few months.
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Old Jan 23rd 2011, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Welcome to BE and goodluck!

There's a good wiki section with a lot of info on things to look for and expect, especially relocation deals.

Quite a few threads on LA area, even recent ones, so probably worth a read for general info.

Things worth doing, especially if you even remotely think you'll stay long term - Copies of birth certificates, school records, vaccination record and any jabs school districts might want that you don't get in the UK. If you've got a AmEx card, look into a international transfer program for it, if you don't, it's a bit late as you need it for 12 months these days, but it's a great boost to not having a pain in the arse with just about everything related to credit score/history.
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Old Jan 25th 2011, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Thanks to everyone for the replies.

I've gone through the wiki and many of the articles, some great information in both.

We decided as a family tonight to make the move, so lots of planning ahead over the next few months. Looks like Calabasas won hands down as our preferred place to live, especially with the kids.

Sally - any further advice that you think relevant would be greatly appreciated.

Ian
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Old Jan 25th 2011, 9:52 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Originally Posted by IanH88 View Post
Thanks to everyone for the replies.

I've gone through the wiki and many of the articles, some great information in both.

We decided as a family tonight to make the move, so lots of planning ahead over the next few months. Looks like Calabasas won hands down as our preferred place to live, especially with the kids.

Sally - any further advice that you think relevant would be greatly appreciated.

Ian
Great! Please feel free to send me a private message if you have questions about the area, I will try to help.
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Old Jan 25th 2011, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

You asked for tips:

Things I wish we'd done differently/sooner:

1. Phoned Wells Fargo International - we went into the branch in the US which with hindsight was a mistake. After we phoned the international lot we got a better account with a credit card, which is unusual when you first move to the US.

2. Amex - If you have an Amex card in the UK, they will transfer your credit history to a US one. It means that you can get a credit card with a better limit than you would usually get with no US credit history. If you don't already have a UK amex, phone them anyway. The nice man on the phone arranged it so we could transfer after only about 4 months whereas the policy is ment to be a year.

3. Supervised the removal men more - Everything was orgainised by the company so I left them to it. I think if I had been on site and supervised we would have had boxes labelled correctly and we wouldn't have had a last minute rush due to them finishing early on some days.

4. Packed kitchenware in my airfreight. We were put up in a serviced apartment, but ended up buying real frying pans/saucepans as the ones they provided were rubbish. I had room in my airfreight if I had realised.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Good luck with your move.
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Old Jan 25th 2011, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Originally Posted by Weeze View Post

4. Packed kitchenware in my airfreight. We were put up in a serviced apartment, but ended up buying real frying pans/saucepans as the ones they provided were rubbish. I had room in my airfreight if I had realised.
A can and bottle opener in your suitcase...always a pain if you don't have one and not something you generally would think of, but off the plane and in a rental, opening that first bottle and realise oh bugger everything is in the cargo
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Old Jan 25th 2011, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of relocating to LA

Exactly
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